The sequester is here, and the sky has not fallen. The long airport lines, unpaid janitors, furloughed teachers and hundreds of thousands of other lost jobs predicted by President Barack Obama have not materialized. His poll ratings are collapsing, and his credibility has been badly diminished.
Obama is the major loser in the drama of Sequester 2013. He claims that due to the sequester, we cannot fund the deployment of the aircraft carrier, the USS Harry Truman from Virginia to the Persian Gulf. Yet he and newly inaugurated Secretary of State John Kerry find $250 million to furnish aid to the Muslim Brotherhood Israel-hating government of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi. The sequester has now focused the spotlight squarely on President Obama, and every time he makes a foolish decision such as this, he will be perceived by the public as a pathetic fiscal failure.
There is a major winner in Sequester 2013, and that is the Tea Party faction of the Republican Party. It was the Tea Party that prevented the Republican leadership in both the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate from caving in to White House pressure. Tea Party members of both the House and Senate served as articulate advocates against both new taxes and excessive spending in both the media and on the floor of each house of Congress. Far from being dead, the Tea Party is a very lively corpse.
I don’t always agree with the Tea Party. I have been critical of their support for unelectable U.S. Senate candidates running against safe Republican incumbents in primary elections. Among these Tea Party-supported candidates were Christine O’Donnell, who defeated incumbent Mike Castle in the 2010 Delaware Republican primary, and Richard Mourdock, who unseated Richard Lugar in the 2012 Indiana Republican primary. The losses of both O’Donnell and Mourdock in their respective general elections negatively impacted the efforts of the GOP to regain control of the U.S. Senate.
On balance, however, the Tea Party has been a net positive for the Republican Party. It must be remembered that their support was vital to the nomination and election of Republican rising stars in the U.S. Senate such as Marco Rubio of Florida and Ted Cruz of Texas. Furthermore, the Tea Party has kept the GOP focused on its most electable message: Low taxes, reduced spending, and high economic growth.
In any event, the Tea Party is here to stay as a major force in the national Republican Party. Their support will be vital to the success of any Republican seeking the GOP Presidential nomination or a high leadership position in the U.S. House of Representatives or Senate.
The word “Tea” in “Tea Party” is an acronym for the words, “Taxed Enough Already”. Most Americans believe that they are taxed enough already, and as long as they continue to hold that belief, the Tea Party will be a strong force within the Republican Party and American politics in general.
Alan J. Steinberg served as Regional Administrator of Region 2 EPA during the administration of former President George W. Bush. Region 2 EPA consists of the states of New York and New Jersey, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and eight federally recognized Indian nations. Under former New Jersey Governor Christie Whitman, he served as Executive Director of the New Jersey Meadowlands Commission. He currently serves on the political science faculty of Monmouth University.